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The Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS – How It Works

In case you didn’t know, both HTTP and HTTPS are short for protocols that are designed to transfer information between computers and servers over the world wide web (WWW). However, the main difference of these two protocols is not only the ‘S’ at the end found in HTTPS. There is a deeper meaning to it.

The Definition Of HTTP and HTTPS

Basically, HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, which is essentially the same thing like HTTPS in terms of function. Speaking of which, both of these protocols are aimed on transferring information like documents, files, images and videos between computers over the Internet.

Simply put, the HTTPS protocol sends this particular information over encrypted connection, which actually makes it more secure and impossible to break. In case you didn’t know, encrypting data means converting it into a code in order to prevent unauthorized access to it.

In practice, pages that demand sensitive data from you – like passwords, usernames, credit cards and other payment processors – should always operate on HTTPS protocols in order to keep your information safe and unable to be stolen.

Using HTTPS does exactly that, agreeing on a ‘code’ between the transfer of information, so that no one can read or steal it.

What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL Certificates are small data files that are encrypted to send over the Intternet. An authorised provider needs to install the SSL Certificate onto the web server to initiate secure sessions with browsers.

Once installed, then the website is converted to a HTTPS domain, which tells the server to establish a secure connection with the browser. When the secure connection is established, all web traffic, personal user transactions, usernames and passwords will be secure.

The Pros and Cons Of HTTP and HTTPS

As you’d probably guess, HTTP is a platform that is independent and can be used over firewall connections. It is a protocol that is not connection oriented and there is no network overhead to create and maintain the session state and information. However, the main drawback of HTTP is related to the security concerns – one that HTTPS instantly solves with its encryption.

On the other hand, HTTPS offers a lot more than safety – it also comes with extended privacy, integrity and authentication, which are all missing in the HTTP based connection. Although more complicated, it prevents stealing information and is therefore a standard that every (information-sensitive) website must adhere to nowadays.

Faster Load Times

The increase in speed for https is also quite significant with a faster loading speed. Feel free to test this out yourself with this https speed test tool.

What To Note Before Switching to HTTPS

Even though the procedure between switching from HTTP to HTTPS might be reasonably easy, there are still some people that might miss steps within the setup process.

  1. Not Registering an SSL certificate from a trusted Certificate Authorised Provider
  2. Installing it on your website’s hosting account incorrectly
  3. Forgetting to point all links to HTTPS once it’s active
  4. Not notifying search engines that the website has been fitted with an SSL certificate

Improved SEO Rankings

In 2014 Google had already stated that HTTPS is a SEO ranking signal but does not count as strong as having quality content on your website.

It has been confirmed by companies such as MOZ that HTTPS is becoming more and more an important ranking signal.

Conclusion

In recent news, Google Chrome released an update where they would remove the secure label for HTTPS sites and replace it with a padlock symbol.

In summary, a HTTPS protocol isn’t a must have for all informational websites but it is a ‘nice to have’ option. Not only does it tell the web browser your website is secured but it also provides many benefits whether it’d be with Google or your users.

If you’re setting up an e-Commerce website for your business then a HTTPS setup is highly recommended. Customers will build their loyalty and trust while shopping on your website knowing that it is secured. Online transaction details and the use of processing payments will also be secured.

For more information on how we can setup a HTTPS domain for you or any further details on how to make your website more secure contact us today.

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